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New program offers soybean promotion, research, information

By Norwalk Reflector staff • May 7, 2019 at 8:00 AM

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that soybean producers may request a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order, as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act.

Participation in the Request for Referendum is voluntary, and producers should only participate if they wish to request a referendum on the program.

The results of the Request for Referendum will be published in a notice in the Federal Register. If at least 10 percent of eligible producers, as determined by USDA, participate in the Request for Referendum, a referendum will be held within one year from that determination.

Interested soybean producers may request a referendum during a four-week period running from May 6 through 31. Form LS-51-1, Soybean Promotion and Research Order Request for Referendum, may be downloaded online, or obtained by mail, fax, or in person from Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices during this time. Completed forms and supporting documentation must be returned to the appropriate county FSA office by fax or in person no later than close of business May 31, or if returned by mail, must be postmarked by midnight May 31, and received in the county FSA office by close of business on June 6. For detailed information, including eligibility, read the full AMS announcement. To find your local office, visit www.farmers.gov.

In other news...

Environmental review required before project implementation: The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires Federal agencies to consider all potential environmental impacts for federally-funded projects before the project is approved. For all Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs, an environmental review must be completed before actions are approved, such as site preparation or ground disturbance. These programs include, but are not limited to, the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program and farm loans. If project implementation begins before FSA has completed an environmental review, this will result in a denial of the request. There are exceptions regarding the Stafford Act and emergencies. It is important to wait until you receive written approval of your project proposal before starting any actions, including, but not limited to, vegetation clearing, site preparation or ground disturbance. Remember to contact your local FSA office early in your planning process to determine what level of environmental review is required for your program application so that it can be completed timely. Applications cannot be approved contingent upon the completion of an environmental review. FSA must have copies of all permits and plans before an application can be approved.

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Breaking New Ground: Agricultural producers are reminded to consult with FSA and NRCS before breaking out new ground for production purposes as doing so without prior authorization may put a producer’s federal farm program benefits in jeopardy. This is especially true for land that must meet Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions. Producers with HEL determined soils are required to apply tillage, crop residue and rotational requirements as specified in their conservation plan. Producers should notify FSA as a first point of contact prior to conducting land clearing or drainage type projects to ensure the proposed actions meet compliance criteria, such as clearing any trees to create new cropland. These areas may need to be reviewed to ensure such work will not risk your eligibility for benefits. Landowners and operators complete the form AD-1026 - Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification to identify the proposed action and allow FSA to determine whether a referral to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for further review is necessary.

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Update your records: FSA is cleaning up our producer record database. If you have any unreported changes of address or zip code or an incorrect name or business name on file they need to be reported to our office. Changes in your farm operation, like the addition of a farm by lease or purchase, need to be reported to our office as well. Producers participating in FSA and NRCS programs are required to timely report changes in their farming operation to the County Committee in writing and update their CCC-902 Farm Operating Plan. If you have any updates or corrections, please call your local FSA office to update your records.

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